In September, 2020 Verizon announced that it intended to acquire TracFone. Currently, TracFone is the largest prepaid wireless provider in the United States with around 21 Million customers. It is also one of the largest Lifeline providers in the country, accounting for almost 1.7 million subscribers. This is in stark contrast to Verizon, who only offers Lifeline services to consumers in portions of four states. If this merger is approved without conditions, Verizon may not have the same interest or incentive to continue Lifeline participation at current capacity and could reduce the quality of or accessibility to Lifeline services for former TracFone subscribers.
Next Century Cities joined with other public interest organizations in an April 6th letter that urges the Federal Communications Commission (“Commission”) to impose merger conditions. Ensuring that current Lifeline subscribers maintain the quality or availability of the service currently received from TracFone is a central concern. The letter also asks the Commission to issue a Request for Information to obtain critical insights from Verizon about how the merger will serve the public interest.
You can read the full letter here.